Michigan lawmakers approve extension of unemployment benefits, new nursing home rules

LANSING — Michigan lawmakers worked until the wee hours Wednesday morning, waiting as legislative leaders and the administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer debated behind closed doors on how best to help millions of workers and small businesses struggling because of  the financial strain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Legislature sues Gov. Whitmer over emergency powers

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Leaders from the House and Senate met off and on for more than 16 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday with representatives from Whitmer’s administration to discuss the measures. After midnight early on Wednesday, lawmakers formalized agreements to extend unemployment benefits, outline new safety measures for nursing homes and create new legal protections for health care providers and other businesses.



a group of people sitting at a table: Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, as they talk to reporters Thursday, January 30, 2020 about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State speech.


© Kathleen Gray
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, as they talk to reporters Thursday, January 30, 2020 about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s

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Covid-19 isolated nursing home residents. Now it may keep them from voting.

Nursing home residents have always faced challenges voting — because of limited mobility, physical infirmity and the restrictive reality of institutional life. But there were many ways to get help: Residents who were mobile and had access to transportation could vote at general polling places, families could freely visit to help residents vote by mail, and, in some states, election officials conducted voting in nursing homes. Now, the novel coronavirus has changed much of that: In-person voting risks infection, and visitors who might help with mail-in voting are barred from many homes. Short-staffed and still concentrating on other challenges posed by the pandemic, facilities do not seem ready to step up.

“Facilities throughout the state have made little or no efforts to assist residents” to vote by mail in “what may be the most important election in their lifetimes,” representatives of a dozen community advocacy groups wrote to Pennsylvania health

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Nursing home residents stage protest of coronavirus restrictions

About 20 residents of a Greeley, Colo., nursing facility gathered to demonstrate against coronavirus restrictions in the state.

The residents, many of them wheelchair users, assembled outside Fairacres Manor Thursday, a local CBS affiliate reported.

“They want to be able to hug their grandchildren, they want to be able to hold the hands of their loved ones,” said Ben Gonzales, an assistant administrator at the facility, according to CBS4. 

Gonzales said staff members, who were present at the protest in masks and eye protection, “want them [residents] to know that their voice does matter.”

Under current restrictions, residents are forbidden from physical contact, although visits are still permitted, the TV station noted.

“We used to be lucky here at Fairacres to show each other what we mean to one another and we cannot do that anymore,” said Resident Council President Sharon Peterson. “Fairacres follows the rules and, with that, we

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Nursing Home Residents Struggle to Vote Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Rosewood Care Center in Inverness, Ill. on April 13, 2019. (Danielle Scruggs/The New York Times)
Rosewood Care Center in Inverness, Ill. on April 13, 2019. (Danielle Scruggs/The New York Times)

Rosewood Care Center in Inverness, Ill. on April 13, 2019. Credit – Danielle A. Scruggs—The New York Times/Redux

Ivan Lakos was born in Hungary and came to the United States in 1951 as a displaced person after World War II. He became a citizen after about five years and has voted consistently ever since. But this year, with COVID-19 cases again on the rise in the U.S., the 96-year-old worried whether he’d be able to continue that tradition.

Lakos lives in a skilled nursing home at the Carol Woods Retirement Community in North Carolina, which is home to roughly 500 residents and usually hosts its own polling place with volunteers on hand to help residents fill out ballots and navigate voting machines. But this year, that isn’t an option for him. To protect against COVID-19,

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Carter Williams, Who Unshackled Nursing Home Residents, Dies at 97

In journal articles, conferences, congressional hearings and meetings with regulators, Carter Catlett Williams illuminated the miseries of nursing home residents with the sympathetic and descriptive powers of a novelist.

She told stories like that of Miss Cohen, whose restrictive diet prohibited the “warm, fragrant chunk of challah” she had eaten on Friday nights her whole life, causing Miss Cohen to refuse food entirely; and of Mr. Denby, a “courtly, dignified former executive” who underwent “identity loss” after he became “unable to rise to greet or bid farewell to his guest because he is tied to his chair.”

She amassed hundreds of accounts along these lines. They helped Ms. Williams influence the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, which required skilled nursing facilities to maintain the “physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident.”

The law transformed common practices in nursing homes and strengthened a reform movement, some of whose arguments have

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Mask ordinance extended through Nov. 8th; Hospital and nursing home restrictions eased

Governor Kay Ivey extended her health order including a statewide mask ordinance through November 8th as part of Alabama’s continued efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’ve heard from a lot of you and I hear you but I look forward to lifting the mask order as much as you do, if not more and hopefully that can be sooner, not later,” said Ivey acknowledging the frustration among many Alabamians eager to return to a sense of normalcy. 

Ivey’s announcement kept virtually all of Alabama’s Safer At Homer order in place. The new order did ease restrictions on hospitals and nursing homes by allowing patients and residents to  be visited by one caregiver or visitor at a time.

Nursing homes are still subject to a series of federal restrictions issued in September by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The regulations state a facility must go 14 days

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Systemic Racism Leads To Disparities In Nursing Home Covid-19 Cases, Deaths

As of September 13, U.S. nursing homes have reported over 230,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and over 55,400 Covid-19 deaths according to preliminary data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Black, Latino, and Native American or Alaska Native people are overrepresented in overall U.S. case and death totals, and it appears that similar disparities persist in nursing homes.

A new study from researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center and IMPAQ, a policy research and analytics firm, found that nursing homes with a disproportionate number of non-white residents had more new Covid-19 cases among residents and staff and more deaths among residents.

These disparities arise from the systemic racism that affects Black and indigenous communities and

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U.S. Tops 7 Million; Nursing Home Managers Charged: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — U.S. coronavirus cases rose to more than 7 million and the pace of daily infections increased slightly, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Virginia’s governor tested positive for Covid-19, days after Missouri’s governor.

Florida Governor Ron Desantis lifted capacity restrictions on restaurants. In the first U.S. case of its kind, Massachusetts is charging the former managers of a veteran’s home where 76 people died of the virus.

London was added to a watch list of potential pandemic hot spots. Spain’s government asked for restrictions on movement to extend across the entire city of Madrid, drawing a rebuff from regional officials.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 32.3 million; deaths exceed 984,000Why Covid may be life-threatening for some patientsAn American CEO living in Sweden has a Covid lesson to shareWho’s succeeding against the coronavirus and why?: QuickTakeNew Jersey’s hot spots flare and tracers are

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After a 5-year battle, bill to increase N.J. nursing home staffing passes. It’s now up to Murphy.

It took five years and a worldwide pandemic to make it happen, but state lawmakers Thursday approved a bill that would require a minimum number of frontline nursing home workers on every shift.



a man holding a sign: Tonya Monture looks on at her husband Robert Montuore after he spoke about her father, Howard Conyack Sr. that died at the facility. Rally by veterans groups and union workers at the state run Menlo Park nursing home for veterans, where at least 65 residents and one staff member died of cover, in Edison, N.J. September, 16, 2020 r


© Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for /Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for/nj.com/TNS
Tonya Monture looks on at her husband Robert Montuore after he spoke about her father, Howard Conyack Sr. that died at the facility. Rally by veterans groups and union workers at the state run Menlo Park nursing home for veterans, where at least 65 residents and one staff member died of cover, in Edison, N.J. September, 16, 2020 r

Certified nursing aides — who feed, bathe and comfort nursing home residents and get paid an average of about $36,000 a year — have long complained they have more responsibilities than they can handle, especially on nights and weekends. The coronavirus outbreak sickened

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Two Charged For Handling Of Coronavirus At Veteran’s Home, Believed To Be First Criminal Case Over Nursing Home Deaths

Topline

Two former leaders of a Massachusetts home for aging veterans, where nearly 80 people have died from Covid-19, have been charged for their handling of the outbreak, the state’s attorney general said Friday, in what she says is believed to be the first U.S. criminal case brought nursing home staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Key Facts

Former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh and former Medical Director David Clinton were indicted by a grand jury, Attorney General Maura Healey told reporters. 

Each is charged with 10 counts, five counts of criminal neglect five counts of serious bodily injury, and have yet to comment on the charges.

The charges come three months after a scathing independent report said “utterly baffling” decisions made by Walsh and other administrators allowed the virus

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